Shun v wusthof v others

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little background about myself so you can get a full understanding of what usage my knives would get. im 26 and looking into getting a set of GOOD knives that can last me forever. (i would prefer a full set of knives so i have the uniformity in the knife block) and i would prefer to not go over $500 initial investment and be able to slowly add to the set as i go

        I LOVE to cook, was wanting to go into culinary school. however i had an injury that prevented me form being able to stand for long periods of time so i was forced to change to computers but i have never lost my love of cooking and frequently cook for other people such as my mom and her new boyfriend.

        I currently use a Victorinox 8in chef knife and walmart special (crofton) - fillet, paring, and santoku. i have a nice big bamboo cutting board (20in x 15in)  I would say i am using a knife anywhere from 3-9 times per week cutting things up for various things that i am cooking. i tend to do a lot more tap chopping than rock chopping, and tend to do a lot of various herbs, carrots, onions, and chicken, and sometimes (3-4 times per month) filleting of fish. I have limited "true" knife sharpening skills, i can sharpen my pocket knife, but not good enough at it to want to sharped a GOOD knife myself (i am learning, but its slow process, can only dull a knife so fast) 

The knives im looking at getting pros and cons

Wusthof classic-  the set i was looing at was a 16 piece set with block.  Price is nice on these compared to shun, but the back end of the 8in felt extremely heavy in a pinch grip, the balance didn't feel tight to me. the 10 inch version fixed the weight balance, but I have always used 8in chef knives and it felt unwieldy. the paring knife however felt amazing and the santoku-ish (wonder prep i think was its name) was good as well. This may sound kinda cheap and petty, but the black handle with 3 rivets on it i can get cheap steak knives to go with the set. I believe if any steak is cook correctly you dont need a high quality knife to cut through it.


Shun classic-  Due to the price dependency i was only looking at a 6 piece set. Firstly, I HAVE NEVER HELD A SHUN. There are no stores in my area that have them in stock to actually hold one to test for balance and feel. I can however buy one from bed bath and beyond try it and then return it (if they ever get them in stock again, go rural Texas). I have read almost everywhere that the Japanese steel in blades are better then the German steel in almost every way, making me lean towards Shun even at the higher price. Finally,

the lifetime sharpening is a big plus for me here, as i have previously stated im not exactly comfortable sharpening a good high quality knife, now do i have anything really suitable for a high end knife, i have a basic sharpening stone and a honing steel that is all. (its also why i love the victorinox, never need to sharpen that dam thing)


       Now if i haven't bored you to death yet, are there any other companies/series that would be in this same range of knives. The more i look into both knife sets the more i dislike both of them. the German is to thick and the balance is wrong, and the shun is to fragile to cut through joins of a chicken and my mom would mess up the blade. (she swears she knows how to use knives, then using them to get lids the can opener dropped into the cans -shudders-)  Please assist a clueless young man! 

Thanks, 

Xantok
 
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What a good number of forum contributors here feel is that there really isn't that much value gained in owning a set of matching knives all from the same line. You pretty much are being forced to mold your selection to what the set is offering. Essential knives tend to be shorter than desired or useful, and they aren't as bang for buck as they seem. As an example, the vast majority of my cutting is done with a chefs knife (gyuto) or a Chinese cleaver, and if I sunk 300-350 into that one knife (instead of a many piece set) I could get something really really prestige and be very happy indeed. Then get a good paring /petty knife and bread knife for under 150$ together and that covers what I generally use in a week. Take some time to think about whether you would really put some quality usage into a 6-8 piece set, or whether your cutting needs are realistically covered by something like 3 or so knives or maybe plus a specialty knife that is better to pick out exactly for your needs anyways.

If it helps about not having things to try locally, I think the only shop I know of in Texas that has Japanese knives past Shun is Metier Cooks Supply in Austin, which is a couple of hours from me. All my good knives I've purchased from e-tailers.

If you go thinner, harder knives, keep the victorinox around for any usage with some chance of hitting bone.

If you are willing to improve your sharpening skills and maybe pick up another stone or two, I would absolutely trust your own sharpening more than a lifetime service down the line. You are the person in the world who will care the most about the proper quality and result of a sharpening job you get for your knives. And there is no waiting for a couple weeks turnaround where I believe you pay the shipping anyways where you don't have your nice knives to use. After a couple of weeks to months of semi-regular practice, it ceases to seem like so much of a big deal to sharpen high end knives, and you get some absolutely delightful knife edges.
 
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Also, if you're looking to expand your shopping choices, look up previous threads in this forum to get some more ideas on what else is out there (a lot, and there is some really cool stuff out there).
 
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the issue with going multiple knives with different people is a shoddy looking knife block. i like knife blocks they give me access to whatever knife i need without going into a drawer looking for them, it also protects the blades better then a knife drawer will. However if that is what people recommend that is what i will look into. Yall are the informed parties im the clueless grad student

i plan on heading to a professional knife shop in Dallas here in about 2 weeks to hold and feel the knives i am looking into. i am NOT putting more then 100 bucks into any knife i cant hold and feel before purchase.

on the sharpening scene i picked up some junk chef knife that was duller then dull at a yard sale and i have been thinking about starting to work on learning how to do it, unfortunately the only stone i have is some crappy one i picked up from a sporting goods store when i was 16, ive been looking into various stones online but until i can at least keep my angle consistent no point in really investing into a good one, dont need to ruin a good stone and knife learning.

my Victorinox isnt going anywhere, its what i give to my mom when she wants to help, you can run that thing over with a tank and it would laugh it off.

i have been digging around the forums alot and have found some other alternatives, im defiantly seeing a trend with Japanese knifes taking preference over the western knife companies. so i am leaning more towards going with a Japanese company over the wusthof. ill keep this post updated as people respond and yall will most liekly be cursed with a more indepth one in the future asking more direct and detailed questions. Unfortunately living in the void where i do there isnt anyone i can sit down and talk face to face about with knives. 
 
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I recommend wusthof for you. It doesn't cut great and it's not fun to sharpen.  On the other hand it can take a lot of abuse.
 
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Going to Dallas to try out a few is a great idea. Bring a couple of carrots, spuds, etc just in case the shop doesn't have any. Bring band aids just in case too. Test until you are satisfied and buy what your heart and experience dictates. Enjoy and let us know your decision

I'd tell you my suggestion but don't want to influence your experience too much!
 
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no please give me other knives to look into, i am not gonna buy a knife because you say "omg its the best thing ever" my uncle swears by wusthof, but i disliked the weight balance. any and all suggestions are welcomed it might give me more insight into other knife brands and series to investigate more

as for the ruggedness of the wusthof i agree they may amazing for beating the crap out of, but i had to cut up about 5 lbs of potaotes and carrots for Christmas and came out sore and blistered. thats what started my investigation into a good knife. i am looking for a knife i can use to cut vegetables mostly, anything with bones ill still bust out the good ol Victorinox (and when mom visits) i was looking for something sharper and better suited for "soft" cutting for larger meals. 
 
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The more you learn of Japanese knives the less you will be satisfied with Shun Classic or Germans.

Your want of a knife block is easy enough satisfied though.

There are other storage options for knives like mag strips and others you can see most easily on Amazon, and knife blocks are for the most part ugly things, but here is one of the exceptions, I have this one, it is the only option my SO would allow me (she controls the decor absolutely).


Now you have a block to be proud of, if you want to go that route, it will look good regardless of how eclectic the knives it holds, and just $40 into your budget, and of course there are other options in the price range that offer more spaces, just take care that they fit the length of whatever knives you wind up with.

I'd add that blade geometry is far more important than the handle and any other considerations of feel.  For the remaining $460 of your budget you could have a nice entry level Japanese 240 gyuto and suji,150 petty, bread knife ceramic steel and a combi stone.
 
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i have also seen alot of people referring to the 240 mm gyuto on various other threads. that is about a 9.5 inch knife, are there any major benefits to stepping up to that length blade rather then sticking to the 8" blade im used to.
 
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Regardless of whatever storage route you go, it's helpful to have or make a couple of really cheap blade guards or sheaths. They can be as simple as cardboard and a strong tape. My storage of most commonly used knives includes sayas and now a fridge mounted mag rack.
 
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Regardless of whatever storage route you go, it's helpful to have or make a couple of really cheap blade guards or sheaths. They can be as simple as cardboard and a strong tape. My storage of most commonly used knives includes sayas and now a fridge mounted mag rack.
ROFL.. my current storage rack is a piece of plywood with slots drilled into it with a piece of foam from my PC case glued to 
 
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I mentioned that as an option to mitigate cutting yourself incidentally. Good knives get terrifyingly sharp with the right treatment.

I'm guessing you're closest to Dallas? If you were anywhere close to Houston you could probably try some of my knives :)

240mm - blade is long enough to halve most large watermelons without having to saw the back end then pull back to saw the close end. That's something I'll be looking for when they're next in-season. It's really not an awkward jump from 8 inches either. I pretty much picked up my first 240mm blade after it came in and was like "oh this is so much better".
 
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yea i live up by oklahoma, thanks for the offer though. ill look into the 240 range of blades they seem to be more common then the 210s i was looking at. 
 
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Shun's QC is much better than it used to be, and their Fuji line are good examples of what Japanese knives should be, but the price is still out of proportion.
 
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i think the focus of the quest is incorrect. Why bother with upgrading knives if there isn't a solid plan for keeping either the current or future knives sharp.

If 5lbs of spuds and carrots resulted in pain then there are fundamentals to address before getting caught up in the Internet knife hype.
 
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i am planning on learnign to sharpen. i am most likely still atleast a month out of purchasing anything. i am kinda obcessive when it coes to buying anything that i plan on keeping a long time

i have a crappy stone and a bad knife i got from yard sale for a dollar im gonna to be practicing on. im gonna sharpen it till it can cut paper then dremel the edge off and sharpen again. so i will be learning to sharpen its on my todo list. i really dont want to get a good quality stone and mess it up by sharpening in one spot to much or damage a 150 dollar knife with bad practices.
 
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I can save you some time there. What you will learn is that cheap stainless is no fun to sharpen and wont hold an edge anyway.
 
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You can learn something from that kind of exercise but I think his point is that it may be very frustrating. Cheap knives may be a good way to point out basic sharpening technique flaws but the knife may never get blazingly sharp or stay sharp. So it may be frustrating. It might be a better option to invest in decent stones or even a decent sharpening machine and bring your Vic into better working condition... And keep it in good sharpness. Chefs for many years have cooked very effectively with that kind of knife and had no need for a trendy Jknife.
 
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i would perfer being frustrated with a cheap knife then be irrate because i messed up my expensive knife.
 
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